SHERIDAN, Ark. — In the first week of school, families in Benton, Sheridan and North Little Rock were all alerted to threats or a weapon at school.
Luckily, security and police were able to resolve all three incidents. However, these alerts are still never easy for parents.
Alvie Taylor has kids at Sheridan schools and received a text late Monday night from the district about an alarming video threat at the high school, excusing absences from school Wednesday.
“Last night, the panic just kind of set in when we got the text from the school district,” Taylor said. “I just don’t believe they gave us the information we felt we needed to handle it.”
Law enforcement immediately launched an investigation and increased its presence on all school campuses. Officers later determined that no crime had been committed and everyone was safe.
“Realizing that they will do that to protect our kids, even if maybe it’s not a real credible threat, does make me feel better and more confident about it,” Taylor said.
Benton and North Little Rock also sent out safety alerts this week, and those situations are also resolved.
While no teacher or student was hurt, UAMS Licensed Counselor Isis Pettway said that anxiety can still follow stressful events like these.
“Find out first and foremost what the plan of action is from your school,” Pettway said. “What is the protocol if parents want to get in touch or if they want to come pick up [their kids]?”
Pettway said those answers could come from starting a family conversation about what to do during emergencies.
“Having the conversation, this is the reality we now live in,” Pettway said. “This is our plan as a family, so if something happens… you can call.”
Meanwhile, organizations like Moms Demand Action are working to keep guns out of schools. Anna Morshedi is the local lead for the Greater Little Rock Moms Demand Action Chapter.
“Across Arkansas and the United States, guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens,” Morshedi said. “This issue is so important to all of us.”
Right now, the group is focusing on safe gun storage in education and is collaborating with school districts for programming.
“Even if we prevent one death,” Morshedi said. “It’s worth everything.”
All this comes as parents get ready for another day of school.
“Both our kiddos will be back in school tomorrow because I really want to try to get them to return to normal,” Taylor said. “I think it’s going to bring the anxiety down.”
We contacted the Sheridan and Benton school districts Wednesday, but neither was available for comment.
Benton police shared a response that said they’re always prepared to respond because their goal is prevention.